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Jim Wood-Smith, head of research at Williams De Broë, said: "The Fed has cut its discount rate by 50 basis points, accompanied by a statement on credit conditions that reads like the diagnosis of a terminal disease. We can take this one of two ways, either a major bank is in big trouble or else this is the Bernanke put option in its full glory.
"The market has gone for the latter, ie don't worry about all our stupid lending 'cos Uncle Ben will bail us out. The rise in equities and collapse of the yen is predictable but may not last long. I suspect that sober reflection over the weekend will focus on the likely downsides of this move.